Unlikely Martha
Children Parenting

Who’s Bad? Your Parenting or The Child

There has always been a debate going on regarding whether or not children should be referred to as “bad.” Let some folks tell there is no such thing as a bad child, I am here to say different. I’ve seen “busy” and I’ve seen “bad” and there is truly a difference.

A few weeks ago after getting an update on our children’s behavior in school and having both children get the same report (good by the way, #youcare) my husband and I had a discussion on what is the make up of well behaved children. Genetics, home training, or a combination of both. Then ironically a few days later a friend of mine and I had the same discussion after she brought up the topic.

Anne Frank quote

After some discussion we came to our non professional opinion that children’s behaviors can’t be pinpointed on one thing but certainly a conglomeration of things could mold them. Environment, and parenting to name a few. I know people who are high strung and always moving fast and their children are the exact same way but they question why? As y’all know my husband and I are super laid back and for the most part so are our kids. The hole in our theory lies with “Preacher’s Kids”…I know.

My friend was asking how I get my children to listen so well and I told her I don’t really spank them but I will yell and I struggle with the fact that I think they may be scared of me. My mother was a yeller and I often did what I needed to do not to hear her mouth, and through genetics I’ve seemed to inherit a style of parenting that I don’t like…but my children know how to behave in public…Most of the time.

Here are a few of my non-traditional methods by which I get my children to behave. Keep in mind  I am by no means a parenting expert!!!

I Mean What I Say: If I say don’t do something, I mean that EVERY. TIME. That fact isn’t dismissed because I’m on the phone or doing something else. If I see them doing it, I call them out, and ask them what I said on the issue so there are no misunderstandings.

If You Give Me Attitude, I Take Something Away: My son was having a bit of an issue keeping his attitude in check…like here. I consistently started giving him restrictions and sticking by them. I suppose there is only so much reading and having quiet time that any 7 year old wants to partake in. #IWin

Place Emphasis on Words With a Clap: This one is a little ghetto but it makes eyes big and heads nod. Example: What Did I Say *claps while saying each word* I’m telling you, this works.

What say you? What influences children’s behavior? Can we really control it…cause I know some parents that “don’t play the radio” yet and still. If you don’t get that reference don’t even worry about it……

Is there such thing as a “bad” child?



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  • Reply
    Marie Young
    September 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I CANNOT with “Place Emphasis on Words With a Clap” hahahahahah

    I didn’t even realize that’s what I’ve been doing, has been done to me and most (black) mothers do! OMG I started busting up laughing. I know people look at us like what the heck is she doing?!?!?

    I think that it’s a mixture of a lot of different factors including chemical makeup aka DNA. My overall rule is an overwhelming amt of LOVE mixed with just the right about of fear. Hey, we even fear GOD right?!?!?
    Marie Young recently posted..Musings From A Mature Woman | Grow Your Own!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Clap….bwahahaha love it. I normally walk around with a belt on my neck I yell but not too much cause I go fool and the kids never know when so they normally behave. People will say my kids are good in the store but its only because I promised them something if they are good so its a bribe. I do use the word bad my hubs likes to say bebe kids (I think that’s the right word for them) either way they know I don’t play.
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  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

    OMG I just bust out laughing at my desk when I read about the clapping!! Love it. My older kids weren’t bad kids but they tried me. I too think they were afraid of me because all I had to do was give them a look. I did spank them and punish them when appropriate and they turned out half descent!! My son…I won’t even go there too long of a story! My oldest daughter, couldn’t be prouder of her..doing her thing!

    Now my little one, I don’t know but she is something else. I yell because I’m puertorican and they speak very loud..but this little girl is not afraid not one bit. She actually is now yelling at us and telling us that we’re mean and proceeds to fold her arms, I’m really trying not to spank her because I thought I’d change discipline up a bit since becoming a mom once again after so many years. Girl..my child is busy and on her way to bad. 🙁 The thing is she thinks she should do whatever we do, like if we put her in time out then at some point we should have a time out too!! WTH!
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    • Reply
      September 22, 2013 at 1:12 am

      I laughed and can totally relate to your post. Im the mother of a 15 year old angel …but this lil 4 year old, is something else, lol. I think a combination of being an older mom this time around and him having older siblings, hes just too much (amazing vocabulary and big personality) here’s praying we make it through this round! lol

  • Reply
    Prototype Mama
    September 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Oh ok– I see you with the clap! I do the same thing but with *finger snaps*
    It works every time– it’s something about the movement that gets them 🙂

    I’m not a spanker either. I have four kids that are very well behaved because they know mama don’t play–when I say it– I mean it and if it doesn’t happen asap–then it’s time to pull out the dictionary, bible or whatever BIG book I can find and write for the rest of the day! If they walk around like they are bored then it’s time to clean!
    If you can’t put away your toys and pick up your clothes–then they will magically disappear. All chores are to be done by 6pm– if they are not done then I will do them without yelling but after I finish then it’s dinner and early bedtime for them (7pm) they hate that one 🙂 It’s sounds extreme but it works and I very seldom have to do any of this more than once or twice. They slip but then I remind them 😉
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    • Reply
      Prototype Mama
      September 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Oh and to answer the question (lol) No I don’t think there is such thing as a bad child. I think children need to be challenged–when they are acting up– I think they are bored and need a creative outlet with structure
      Prototype Mama recently posted..Kid’s snack: Frozen Nutella dipped bananas

  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    yes there is a suck thing as a bad child. I have seen plenty. I attribute their behavior to their parenting. Bad children are usually a product of their environment and the lack of proper parenting.

    My child behaves. I don’t spank much and if I do it’s only in exteme cases. Once I’ve told her something TOO many times ( which is rare) or when she’s done something she knows better than doing. Most times like you, I raise my voice and that gets the job done. She knows I’m serious about whatever it is. Something else I always do is, after I’ve calmed down, I explain to her the reasons why she got fussed at. She has a chance to explain herself and then we kiss and make up. I never want her thinking I’m just a mean mommy because I’m most def not that. But I am the boss!
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    • Reply
      September 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

      I’m with Krissy. I certainly believe that there are bad children.. I’ve seen quite a few, especially in our apartment complex. And the little girls around here? tuh.. too damn grown.. but that’s neither here nor there.

      I’m a yeller too and I’m really trying to work on not spanking at all but sometimes that’s all my son seems to understand. While I don’t have to spank him often, I’m trying to see how I can get through to him without spanking at all, although it gets his mind right like it got my mind right when my parents did it.
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  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Okay, I’m going to have to try that hand clap thing. I think I have the most stubborn 2 year old out there! She’s now starting to pull the “I want Daddy!” thing when I get on her about something, and vice-versa with my husband. I don’t want to have an out of control pre-teen, so I’m trying to instill some sense in her head NOW! LOL
    Half the stuff these kids do these days, we wouldn’t have DARED do when we were younger. But then again, back then, your parents could give you a butt whipping without worrying about being reported to the police.
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  • Reply
    K. Elizabeth @ YUMMommy
    September 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    That clapping really works, especially if you catch them off guard. I can’t tell you how many times I had to come up on Moo and just start clapping to words I was telling her. She about jumped out of her skin. However, the technique worked because she’s very well behaved child for the most part now. We also do time out with her because she hates being separated from everybody else with a passion.

    Now, JJ I’m still working on what will work for him. He’s definitely more a curious busy body who always has to stay in the wrong things, but he has a stubborn side when he wants to. My goal is to nip that in the bud before it gets out of hand because I don’t see myself with a child thinking they run stuff. There will only be two shot-callers around this spot-myself and the Mr.
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  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    My son is so strong willed. I was not as openly stubborn as he is. So I’ve learned that I have to toe the line. If I tell him not to do something, and then he sees me doing it, he WILL call me out. And he’s not even 3 yet! But it’s taught me a lot. I have to have integrity, and I have to keep myself in check always. I try not to yell at him out right. I do have a “tone” that let’s him know when he’s pushing it. Sometimes I think he’s getting out of hand. But every time we’re around other people he does exactly what I’ve taught him. He rarely gets spanked, and when he does it’s because he’s reached a point when he needs something to snap him back to reality. One quick swat on his bottom usually does the trick. I don’t think kids are bad in and of themselves. I think that pretty much all of their behavior are a reflection of their surroundings. If they are cared for properly, they can grow into their full potential.
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  • Reply
    Dani @ okdani.com
    September 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    So my 15 month old is doing something he knows he’s not supposed to…I go with the clap-to-every-word technique along with an ‘angry’ face and say something like: you clap may clap not clap touch clap that clap. He looks at me, says YAY! And gives me a round of applause and goes back to disobeying me.

    Just thought I’d share cuz I do that ‘ghetto’ maneuver as well. I figure it’ll work better when he’s older.
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  • Reply
    September 20, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Yeah this clap thing, I need to try it STAT!! Lol! I can totally see me doing it and my husband giving me the epic side eye!

    My oldest boy is a handful. He is extreme my busy–busy to a point where on Sunday nights we are spent and done with all of his antics!! My husband is the strong disciplinarian, and they are always butting heads. He is not bad because he doesn’t do thing maliciously but goodness does he have a listening problem. And for some reason he only hears me when I get upset.

    Working on it.
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  • Reply
    Candace (NYStateofMoM)
    September 21, 2013 at 8:48 am

    LOL LOL! I can’t even imagine you clappin lol! I have NO issues w Chunks being scared of me all he needs is the eye or a quick “Aye Yo!” (lil hood but it’s always worked). If I have to say something more than twice I use the grip from no where tactic (that is a quick grip under the armpit they didn’t see coming and repeating myself for the LAST time). I’m w you I mean what I say and he knows it. Bad kids are showing out because of something they’re missing/seeing at home, but they exist.
    Candace (NYStateofMoM) recently posted..When a Wallflower has to Raise a Social Butterfly

  • Reply
    September 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Ok. The clapping…. I’m going to try it. I do a finger snapping thing and I will raise my voice in a minute to get my point across. I only soank when I’ve asked him to do something too many times. And even then, it’s a few quick taps. You would think I was killing him. But right now, we’ve got a listening problem. When I get him to understand he has to listen the first time, we’ll be ok.
    But back to bad children: they exist. And some of it is environmental, some is genetics and some just need meds.
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  • Reply
    September 22, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I will admit that I am also a yeller. I fuss. Hard. But it works. I am also a known clapper and like you said eyes SWELL with fear of what might come next. The problem I have is one of my daughter’s BFFs is bad. I know what busy is and this little girl is bad. I mean she’s “slapping other kids in the face” bad. I struggle with allowing them to play together but they’re in a lot of the same classes and groups so it’s been tough. I think you and your friend hit it right on the head. Kids are like their parents in a lot of ways. My husband and I both are easy going people and our kids are the same way. I can take my three year old out for hours of errands and I know she’s not gonna trip out on me. Parents have to do what works for them. I scream. I clap.
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  • Reply
    Baby Teems
    September 23, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Haha good ones! I am trying to find whats works for us before this spins out of control. I think that setting boundaries and consequences molds the behavior in children.
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  • Reply
    September 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    The clapping part had me laughing but I know it’s so true. I have yet to do that, but I think I will try that. It’s so important to do what you say you are going to do, and stick to it. Great post Mimi!
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  • Reply
    Erica T
    September 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    The clapping I about died….LMAO.
    I do agree however that it works.lol
    I think children need boundaries and consequences and without them you have “choas” and have set the foundation for a disruptive child. Behavior is observed and it also varies. The environment, time of day, surroundings, food consumed that day all play a role in how you are feeling which results in some type of response to those elements. I think my oldest enjoys acting out for the attention aspect and because at school her last two teachers have been very laid-back with their boundaries and she will certainty take advantage. I wish teachers would clap at kids. lol.

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